In the middle of July I taught an introduction to preserving/canning class with nary a gerkin in site. Watermelon skins were an option but we needed to be complete in three hours, including a batch of raspberry jam.
Carrot pickles it is. A year round sweet and sour option that you probably have all the ingredients for at home, right now.
The class was an excercise in patience and ingenuity as the stove took three hours to boil the canner full of water for processing. A museum docent and I stayed late and everything was just loaded into my car at the end so that staff, now on overtime, could go home.
The next morning, as I began unpacking, I first thing I came across was a bag of ginger, carrots and onions. A little pickling liquid and I could have jars of my own!
You will need:
peeled and sliced carrots to fill six 1 cup jars
1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 cups white vinegar
2 Tbsp. peeled and sliced fresh ginger root
4 whole cloves
1/4 tsp. celery seed
While unpacking the car and sorting out what I needed, time and space was created to focus on gratitude, for the members last night that had been accepting of all our efforts to get the water hot enough for class, for the already half prepared bits and pieces that would take me only a few minutes to finish up and for the time available to do the work on an otherwise preplanned day. I moved everything needed into the kitchen, washed my hands, took a deep breath, pulled out a knife and began.
Since I was dealing with finishing up left over previously peeled carrot pieces, I went about things a little differently.
First step was to wash and slice the carrots and pack them into the three remaining jars. Then I filled the jars with water to measure how much vinegar mix was needed for what was being made. Just over one cup of water filled the three jars so I cut the original recipe in half.
All my equipment from class was still sitting in the back of my vehicle and since I was only finishing up three small jars, I improvised.
Choosing a pot that is tall enough to hold the jars, on a cookie rack set in the bottom of the pot with enough headroom for 1/2 inch of water on top of the jars, I filled the pot with water and set it on high. It took about 20 minutes this time to come to a boil.
In another smaller pot combine all the ingredients, except for the carrots and onion and bring to a boil, reduce temperature and keep on a simmer.
When the water in the processing pot is reaching a boil, turn on the heat under the sealers and bring to a boil. Remove the jars from the oven and pack with the carrots and onions, being sure not to leave empty spaces or to burn your fingers.
Whether you transfer the whole spices into the individual jars is up to you. The carrots will have more flavour if the jars contain the spices and not just the infused liquid.
Clean the rim with a wet cloth. Place a hot sealer and lid on top and tighten. When tight, unwind about 1/4 inch, just to slightly loosen.
Take off the lid of the boiling water and lower all three jars into the water with jar tongs. You can see in the picture just above that I improvised again and used a flat ladle and spatula. (Dirty equipment still in the car.)
Process in boiling water of 10 minutes and then allow the pickles to sit in the hot water for 5 minutes before gently lifting them out of the pot.
If your pickles have floated to the top of the jar, don’t worry. I will give you a trick for resolving that but the jars have to fully cool first.
As the jars cool, there will be a pinging sound which is the sealer being pulled down onto the top of the jars, creating a vacuum.
When fully cooled (sitting 24 hours is not a problem), check the seal (push down with your finger, if it moves, that is a problem), wipe the outside if needed and label. If any jars do not seal properly, store in the fridge and use first.
Turn any jars that have pickles gathered at the top upside down and leave for a minute before turning upright once again. This will allow the contents to shift throughout the jar and not just float on top.
Allow to sit for 4 weeks before enjoying.
Carrot Pickles from My Kitchen Wand